Over 178 aquaculture farmers from two cooperative societies in Delta State, Nigeria, benefited from a four-day practical training exercise on best management practices in catfish production organized by EfD Nigeria.
The training, held on August 28-31, 2023, was part of the deliverables of EfD Nigeria’s project on the impact of improved environmental management practices on small-scale catfish production: Experimental evidence from coastal Nigeria.
Participants were drawn from fish farmers from Ufoma Fish Farmers and Aqua Fish Farmers Cooperative Societies, located at the Warri, a coastal city in Nigeria.
Training was practical
Part of the training involved an on-site demonstration to show the farmers how to use a tester to determine the health of their fish ponds.
“You can imagine that the farmers relied solely on the mortality of their fish as a sign that their ponds were unhealthy. So, we demonstrated how the testing kits could be used to measure the level of oxygen and ammonia in the pond,” said Chukwuemka Onyia, one of the training facilitators.
The practical aspects, according to Chukwuemka Onyia, made the training unique compared to other trainings which were merely theoretical.
Trainees got testing kits
The next phase of the project would involve the distribution of the testing kits to the farmers. Chukwuemka Onyia said that the team would, over time, equally carry out an evaluation to know the impact of the training and other interventions on the productivity and income of the fish farmers.
For over ten years, the fish farmers said that they have not had access to extension services to address the challenges related to their business.
“This training is very timely because many of us are new to technology and best practices in aquaculture,” said Chief Joshua Ughere, a fish farmer with over 17 years of experience.
“Training revealed what we were not doing right”
Joshua Ughere said that the training has revealed to him and other farmers, many things they were not doing right in the areas of feeding and timing of their fish, water quality, and preparation of ponds.
He said that the application of knowledge they acquired from the training was necessary for the survival of their business.
Another participant, Sunday Onaodowan, the President of Ufoma Fish Farmers’ Cooperative Society said that with financial incentives in the areas of feed production and acquisition of technology, his group could improve its production capacity from 3 tons to over 5000 tons of fish per week.
“We have the capacity, we just need a little push,” he said.
By: Inya Agha Egwu